Thursday seems to have flown round so it is time for my weekly Striking Mums post.

voice

Can I just say how delighted I am with how people are responding to the whole concept of Striking Mums?

It is great to see very diverse mums taking part sharing their stories and truths. I love it when I see some real outcomes that I hope Striking Mums helped bring about – someone making an appointment for a health check, someone booking onto a course or carving out some precious time for themselves.

Last week, mums blogged about learning again very much in their own individual ways.

Common themes were how lack of time and money can act as barriers to education. It was noticeable that having a supportive family makes a huge difference and not every mum has that available to her.

There are certainly a lot of learning opportunities out there from psychology to macaroons, from English Literature to hairdressing.

What was clear from the posts last week is that you can learn as a stay at home mum, as a teacher, as a home-educator, as a student and as any combination of these things. Mums noted how therapeutic learning can be including during challenging periods of mental health difficulties.

One mum shared Nelson Mandela’s quote that “Education if the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

So that is learning for us.

I have learned that I need to write a wrap-up post in future as there is so much good content in the blogs linking up to Striking Mums.

This week, I want to talk about keeping mum. Keeping mum means not speaking or staying silent. Please interpret the questions in a way that makes sense to you as the individual you are.

1. Have you lost your voice? When and how did that happen?

2. How do you use your voice? Are you using it for yourself, your family and/or a good cause?

3. Is there anyone in your life who would prefer you to stay quiet? Why would they want that to happen?

4. Whose voice do you miss most and why?

5. What do you need to speak up about? Who to? What support do you need to help you do that?

6. Is your inner voice helping or hindering you?

Finally, I wanted to hand out a honorary Striking Mums award to Jamelia and Janet Street-Porter who have spoken out about their experiences of domestic violence. Please do what you can to support the Loose Women campaign on this vital issue. If you are experiencing domestic abuse or think you might be, the link will take your to sources of support. When people speak out about these sort of issues, they always help other people.

I would love to have your comments and if you blog in any way about yourself and how you are taking steps tiny or otherwise to change your life, please link up below. I will comment on every post, promote them on my social networks and include links in a round-up post next week.

Please use the hashtag #strikingmums on social networks.

Please grab the rather attractive Striking Mums badge in the sidebar and display on your blog.

Most of all, please visit the other people linking up to lend them your support.

I have set up a Facebook group for Striking Mums – you don’t have to be a blogger to join this. You do have to be a mum.

I have also set up a Pinterest board for Striking Mums

Have a good week and I look forward to hearing your voices.

The F word as in Feminism seems to cause some women so much angst and I struggle to work out why.   I became aware of the word in the mid-to-late Eighties.  It seemed to involve women getting or fighting for a positive deal and as a big fan of fair play, I was ready to sign myself up to the cause.

I did not burn my bra but I hated it then and now.  I was apparently seen by some as sexually confident when hanging loose but the truth was I have sloping shoulders and just got bored of keep pulling up the straps.  I did join a women’s group at college and eventually became Women’s Officer to ensure that women’s views were heard by the college authorities (women were very much in the minority at my college).

There was a session on women’s voices in media at BritMums Live.  Helen from Actually Mummy, one of the speakers wrote a blog post about it.  She explained how the following tweet gave her confidence to share her vision.

 

Women can be intelligent even when wearing tiaras. #fact#britmumslive@ActuallyMummypic.twitter.com/3CG6Nfs3AX

— Claire Evans (@claireyfairey) June 20, 2014

Absolutely.  Women can be intelligent whatever they are wearing or not wearing for that matter.  Equally, some women may not be intelligent and/or may struggle to express their wants and needs particularly with those in power – employers, landlords, benefit agencies, the police and other organisations.  In the domestic arena, some will find it tough to get a fair deal in the home.  And some will die.

As an advice worker, I saw so many vulnerable women up against the authorities and who had made rash decisions “because I love/d him”   Any yes, I have seen the bruises and the emotional damage to female victims of physical and sexual abuse.

Feminism should never be merely a dinner party conversation or a specialism in a career.  That is a further abuse to those who are suffering. There are vital changes to be made if we are truly to feel proud of the society in which we live.

I do feel we should challenge men who act badly as women, men and as a society at a whole.  If I quote statistics on matters such as crime that make some men (and women) feel uncomfortable, if I think it is for the greater good I will keep on doing so.

I do think that if women are to be understood and heard, it would be helpful to see more of them in politics, business and the media.  I also feel think those women who have made that journey could do a lot for themselves and others by offering mentoring to others.

Blogging and social media give women the opportunity to have their say on topics that matter to them.  We can learn from each other too and it strikes me that sharing not only our story but those of others can be such a powerful force for change.  Which certainly makes me want to press those share buttons more often now that I have thought it through. Let’s share our truths and then those who do have power can make the right choices for a fairer world from an informed position.

Working together and supportively for a better world knowing that women are a valuable part of that world – now that’s what I call feminism.

Agree or disagree? – leave a comment and then I can start to understand your voice too.